Back to the Basics of Life

Ed called yesterday, and I was cutting the lawn. He told the wife, “Your condo building should have a gardener or maintenance man for jobs like that.” She answered, “Well, Ray does it for free.” So Ed was all for my free labor in cutting the lawn. I call it my volunteer pleasure.

Ed and I agree that taking care of what you have, even your lawn is essential. Valuing, protecting, and maintaining ourselves and our relationship with God and others is worthy of wise consideration. We are more likely to treasure and keep what we love in good repair.

It is easy to ignore regular maintenance for various reasons, but it may come back to bite us. Many things, including ourselves, require regular upkeep. People need food, water, exercise, sleep, and shelter to care for themselves. Christians seek to care for others as well as themselves because God has taken care of them in Jesus Christ, His Son.

As Christians, we look to God’s commandments and rules to help safeguard our faith. They guide us in how to live in God’s wisdom in our daily lives. For example, we need God’s guidance in our relationships with others in our families, friends, work, school, and church community. God’s rules direct us on how to love God and each other. Love is the force or power to motivate us in our behavior towards God and others. Yet, Christians do not perfectly apply God’s rules in love in their daily lives. They, too, get influenced by the world and may find it easier to resent, dislike, hate, or even hurt others rather than to love others. Concern for others above ourselves isn’t popular in our world.

The mindset of our world reflects the television show, Survivor. In this reality television show, a group of strangers comes together on a deserted island. Everyone in the group seeks to outwit, outplay, and outlast everyone else. They want to become the Sole Survivor and win a million dollars. I think loyal fans of the show would agree that in each season, there is a great deal of backstabbing, deceit, fake or fickle alliances, sneaking around for advantages, and other behavior that is very low on the openness and honesty scale.

Those most skillful with their lies and manipulations come out on top in Survivor. Survivor celebrates folks being out for themselves at the expense of others around them. There is one winner and everyone else a loser. Christians know that God lovingly desires everyone to win in life now and in heaven. Therefore, when we seek to maintain God’s rules in our daily lives, we bless others with our loving actions towards those around us.

God directs us how to act in love in Leviticus 19 verses 9-18 (Paraphrase) When you harvest your fields, and vineyards leave (give) some for the poor. Do not steal, cheat or lie. Do not take advantage of or rob anyone. Pay those you have hired immediately. Don’t harm or curse the (disadvantaged) blind and deaf. In court, seek justice, do not favor the poor, or defer to the rich. Do not slander others or hold grudges against anyone. Do not seek to get revenge but love your neighbor as yourself. These rules will never get easier to follow.

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